BERLIN (Reuters) - Pilots in Germany have reached a wage agreement with Ryanair <RYA.I> for the first time, the airline and its pilots' union said on Wednesday, a boost to the budget carrier which is facing industrial unrest elsewhere in Europe.
Pilots in Germany were responsible for Ryanair's first ever strike in late 2017 that contributed towards the proudly no-frills airline recognising unions for the first time in its 32-year history to avert wider disruption.
The Irish carrier has struck pay deals in a number of other European markets, quelling a series of strikes that followed a year ago, but it has failed to do so with others and faces walkouts by British and Spanish pilots this month.
Under the German deal, pilots will be paid more and will benefit from better protection in case of layoffs, the VC union said, adding that the parties had agreed on future talks which would include the possible creation of a works council.
The collective agreements made clear that German law applies to employment relationships and included provisions to cushion the hit any possible base closures or reductions may cause, VC said in a statement.
Ryanair's said the agreement will cover all directly employed pilots in Germany until March 2023.
While widespread strikes over pay and conditions a year ago forced Ryanair to cancel hundreds of flights, the first series of strikes since then in Britain, Spain and Portugal has caused minimal disruption in recent weeks.
Some of the next round of strikes by British pilots and both pilots and cabin crew in Spain are due to coincide with each other.
"The agreement must not obscure the fact that we still have a lot of work ahead of us to make the Europe-wide slogan of the trade unions "Ryanair must change!" come true. This is demonstrated not least by the ongoing labour disputes in other countries," VC lawyer Tanja Viehl said in a statement.
"With the signing of collective agreements for the German pilots, we are taking an important step forward in the demand for more employee rights at Ryanair in Germany."
(Reporting by Tassilo Hummel in Berlin and Padraic Halpin in Dublin, Editing by Thomas Seythal and David Evans)